PARK RIDGE , IL - Purdue University has been named the recipient of the second annual Big Ten SuperFan Cup in recognition of its marketing and promotional campaign that helped boost attendance at women's basketball games over the 2003-04 season.
Purdue ranked second in the nation last year for increased attendance and fifth in average attendance as in 12 home games last year, the Boilermakers averaged 10,105 fans per game - an increase of 3,051 per contest from 2002-03.
In the fall of 2002, the Big Ten Conference launched the SuperFan campaign, a promotion designed to boost attendance for women's basketball regular-season games. For the second consecutive year, the promotion allowed each institution within the Conference to publicize its women's home basketball games using additional marketing tools provided by the Big Ten. The League distributed both marketing and financial support to all 11 universities and encouraged Conference schools to use the customized materials from the SuperFan kit. Michigan State was the first university to be awarded the Superfan Cup as the Spartans generated an astounding 77 percent attendance increase for home games during the 2002-03 season.
As a Conference last year, the Big Ten ranked second nationally to the Big 12 with 778,125 fans attending League homes games, shattering the previous Conference record of 685,361 set in 2002-03. Over the 2003-04 season, an average of 5,085 fans attended Big Ten games, which surpassed the previous Conference record of 4,530 patrons per outing in 1998-99. The Big Ten has led the nation in attendance seven of the last 12 years, most recently in 1999.
Purdue, Penn State and Minnesota ranked among the top 10 national attendance leaders in 2003-04, as all three averaged over 9,000 fans per game. In addition to Purdue's attendance numbers mentioned above, Penn State ranked fourth in the nation for increased attendance last year, as the Lady Lions improved a total of 2,899 fans per outing for an average game attendance of 9,670, a total which ranked seventh nationally. Minnesota finished just ahead of the Lady Lions in sixth place in average attendance with 9,703 fans per game and was fifth-best nationally with an increased attendance of 1,903. Additionally, three other schools ranked among the top 25 in average attendance in No. 13 Wisconsin (6,313 per game), No. 16 Michigan State (5,312) and No. 24 Iowa (4,134).
The League also shattered attendance records at the Big Ten Tournament this past season. In front of a single-session record of 9,417 fans, second-seeded Purdue defeated top-seeded Penn State 59-58 for the Tournament title. For the week, a Tournament record of 37,635 spectators witnessed Big Ten women's basketball at its finest.